Thursday, June 28, 2018

Chicken soup for the sickie

When you're not feeling well and you're an adult, you make your own chicken soup.

Here's what I did:

I had two whole rotisserie chicken remains left so I boiled those with some bay leaves and then picked all the meaty bits off, like a treasure hunt.

I used the broth and added carrots, frozen peas, onions, a whole head of garlic chopped up, a huge onion, a large knob of grated ginger plus the juice from it, some Japanese pumpkin, a sweet yellow pepper, lots of turmeric, salt, pepper, parsley, and chicken bouillon cubes. It simmered till everything was soft and then I added the meat back in. After a few minutes, I served it up in bowls with a scoop of cooked rice.

The saltiness feels so good to my sore throat.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

goat-cheese salad dressing

I've made this twice now and both times it's gone down a treat. My tummy is fine with goat cheese, thankfully, and so I buy it at Costco (it's from Wisconsin, of all places).

This is very easy to make and even easier to eat. I got it here, and I've changed the amounts slightly.

You'll need:

  • 1/4 cup soft goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons mixed herbs (I've been using dried because our container garden has not been replenished except for parsley so far)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • coarse black pepper
Do this:

Just mash the cheese and vinegar with a fork till smooth, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

Drizzle over some salad and savor the tangy creaminess. The first salad we tried it on had some cubed sauteed pumpkin with the greens, and that was extra delicious. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

matthew goes to germany (in the kitchen, at least)

Matthew is fascinated with the German language and culture! So last week he and I took a little trip to the computer for some research and then a visit to the kitchen to try out some German cooking. Here he is making the Bavarian cream. That was quite a lot of steps (eleven, to be exact). It involves heavy cream, milk, separating some eggs, sugar, vanilla, some cooking, an ice bath, a double boiler, and some refrigeration. Here's the method we used, though we topped it with a mango fruit sauce and not what they recommended (berry sauce or lemon juice). Matthew loves anything mango!
The full meal: Rosti potato pancakes (we cheated by not grating the potatoes ourselves--we bought a packet of ready-to-cook Swiss Rosti from Costco!), currywurst (sausages roasted and sliced with a fantastic ketchup-curry sauce), and German peas with bacon, sugar, and vinegar. Everything was so delicious and Matthew did a superb job.
And don't forget the Bavarian cream...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

banana okara (soy pulp) muffins

Every Monday evening, our faithful tofu delivery lady, Horie San, drives by with her little truck and the not-so-little music that is piped through the neighborhood from the speaker on top of said truck. (She is one of the friendliest people on the planet.)

And if I spend 1,000 yen or more (or even if I get close to that), she gives me a 200-gram bag of soy pulp, called okara in Japanese.

Here's a recipe I found on Cookpad that helps me use up the okara, and we all love these moist muffins. I changed it a little, so here you go. This is doubled and has all my changes incorporated.

You'll need:
  • 120 g butter, melted (I want to try coconut oil next time)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 200 g okara (soy pulp)
  • 100 g maple syrup
  • 175 g rice flour
  • 25 g kinako (roasted soy flour)
  • 4 small bananas, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 100 ml soy milk (plus a little extra if too dry)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • raisins for the top
Do this:

Preheat your handy-dandy oven to 180 C. Whisk the butter, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla together, then add in the rest of the ingredients. Top with raisins and then bake about 20 minutes or so. 

I'm not a huge banana fan, but these were bananarrific and I'm going to make them again this week.

UPDATE: Even extra delicious with coconut oil instead of butter. Gives it a little island flair.

Monday, February 26, 2018

middle-eastern chicken burgers and chickpeas

This meal reminded me of some Lebanese food we had in London in 2016 at the drool-worthy Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington right near the Natural History Museum. I actually got this recipe from my friend Hiukei who got it from Smitten Kitchen (recipe here). 

The Smitten Kitchen recipe calls for ground turkey and panko breadcrumbs for the meatballs, but I subbed ground chicken and a mixture of rice and almond flours, and because of the different consistency, fried them in the frying pan instead of rolling into balls and baking. But I did roast the turmeric chickpeas in the oven. 

To the lemony onion side dish that Smitten Kitchen talks about, I also added cucumbers, purple cabbage, some sweet red pepper, and a splash of olive oil. And I made some quinoa in the rice cooker, too, to sop everything up.

Warm quinoa, cumin-y tender chicken burgers, roasted chickpeas and onions, crunchy lemony raw veggies, and a lemon-yogurt sauce to top it all off (I did have to take an enzyme to help me handle the dairy, which helps, but not completely). I don't think I even need to say how ravenously delicious this was. 




Thursday, February 15, 2018

cottage pie (version 18.0)

I don't know how many times I've made cottage pie, but however many times that is, that's how many versions I've developed. This time I made a mixture of kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and white potatoes for the topping.

You'll need:

  • about 5 small white potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 Japanese kabocha, chopped and with skin left on
  • milk (I used soy)
  • butter (about 2 or 3 tablespoons)
  • salt and pepper 
  • nutmeg
  • ground beef and pork mixture (about 600 grams)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 or 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • parsley for sprinkling
Do this:

Boil the potatoes and kabocha together, then drain, mash, and add some milk, salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.

In a frying pan, cook the onion, carrot, garlic, and sweet pepper till soft, then add in the ground beef and pork, ketchup, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Cook till the meat is cooked through.

In an oven-safe pan, put the meat mixture in the bottom, spread the mash on top and sprinkle with parsley. Dot with bits of butter and bake for 30 minutes at 180 C.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

belizean meal

This week was Joel's turn to pick his favorite country from the boys' geography encyclopedia and cook a meal based on that cuisine. He chose Belize.

We researched and came up with this menu:
  • rice and kidney beans with pork, coconut milk, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper
  • shrimp ceviche: boiled chopped shrimp, salt, lime juice, onions, cilantro (coriander) leaves, and tomatoes
  • fudge with peanuts and coconut (sweetened condensed milk, white sugar, vanilla, butter, peanuts, and coconut)

Next up: Matthew goes to Germany!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

gluten-free and dairy-free carrot-apple-raisin cake made with kinako and rice flour

My friend Sanae knows that I try to cook without wheat or dairy, and she sent me this lovely carrot-raisin cake recipe from Cookpad (which is in Japanese). It's made with rice flour and kinako, which is roasted soybean flour and has a lovely subtly-sweet nutty flavor.

I double it, and add a few of my own additions, like the apple and warm spices. I make the double version in an 8X8-inch glass cake pan, which I oil beforehand. Here's my Mamatouille version.

You'll need:
  • 120 g rice flour
  • 60 g kinako (roasted soybean flour)
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 2 carrots (about 200 g), very finely grated 
  • 40 g raisins
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped tiny
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons oil (I use grapeseed because of its neutral flavor)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger to taste
  • a little splash of soy milk if the mixture is too dry
Do this:

In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients, and in a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add in the liquid ingredients, including the carrots, apple, and raisins. Combine everything and mix well. I find the batter can be a bit dry, so I splash in a little bit of soy milk if needed. 

Bake at 180 C until done, about 30 minutes or so. It comes out moist and with just the right amount of sweetness--not too much to be overpowering, but just enough to make you feel like you've had a real dessert. And I won't deny that we've each had a slice for breakfast.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

lentil-kabocha-coconut-milk curry

Do you have kabocha squash where you live? It's got a dark green skin and inside is bright orange. If you don't have access to it, any kind of pumpkin or squash will do for this recipe.

Another Mamatouille original, created in my Mamatouille Test Kitchen (aka our tiny Japanese daidokoro).

You'll need:

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 veggie (or meat) stock cube
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • many, many cloves of garlic, minced
  • a knob of ginger, grated
  • dash cardamom
  • dash hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 kabocha, chopped into bite-sized pieces (leave the skin on, Japanese style)
  • 1 can coconut milk (15 ounces or 425 grams)
  • cooked rice, for serving
  • for accompanying salad: cucumber, tomato, sweet yellow pepper, cilantro (coriander) leaves, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, ground cumin and coriander
Do this:

In a large stock pot, cook 1 cup dried lentils with 2.5 cups water, 1 veggie stock cube, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 bay leaf. When they are soft, about 20 minutes later, turn off the heat. You will not need to drain any liquid because it should pretty much all be absorbed. (I got the method for cooking lentils from page 105 in my More with Less cookbook.)

In a skillet, saute the onion, ginger, and garlic in a little coconut oil. When it's softened and a little browned, add the pepper, cardamom, hot paprika, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, and curry powder. If you need to, add a bit more coconut oil. Stir it around a few minutes till it's aromatic and making you really, really hungry.

Pour the onion and spice mixture into the pot of lentils, along with 1/2 cup water and the chopped kabocha. Simmer till the kabocha is soft, then add the can of coconut milk. Taste and add a sprinkle of salt if needed. Serve over rice with cilantro/coriander leaves and the side salad. 

Put your ear plugs in because the family will be shouting their praises. 


Thursday, January 11, 2018

snowy day

After clearing snow, it was a spicy-hot- chocolate- (with cinnamon, chicory, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom) and-popcorn afternoon, and it's a kabocha-and-sweet-potato-hash kind of night.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

algerian chicken stew

The fragrance of Algerian chicken stew--oh my! Like inhaling heaven.

This recipe is from Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook, and involves garlic, onions, cumin, basil, bay leaves, and other wonderful items. I change it and use whatever veggies I have on hand. It says to serve over couscous, but I made quinoa in the rice cooker to go with it instead.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2 days; 2 smooothies

Still plowing ahead with a lunchtime smoothie almost every day! It's a wonderful way to get loads of raw greens in one go. Today's was avocado, banana, navel orange, fresh ginger, mint leaves, and komatsuna greens (you can sub in raw greens of your choosing).

Yesterday I threw in some frozen berries, a navel orange, a banana, fresh ginger, cabbage, and lemon juice.

Here's how I layer the smoothies in the blender: first goes in soft, squishy foods like bananas and avocados, then the greens, and if I have anything hard or heavy, like a chopped carrot or frozen fruit, I put that on the top to push everything else down toward the blade. I also add water to all my smoothies for easier blending. Chia seeds are good too!

Friday, October 20, 2017

easy hummus

I can't just pop into a grocery store in Japan and buy hummus because they just don't sell it here. I can, however, throw a couple cans of cooked chickpeas and a few other staples in the blender and whirr away my Middle Eastern food cravings.
My blender cookbook has an easy recipe, and I usually double it.

You'll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (in Japanese, this sesame paste is called neri goma and is sold in regular grocery stores)
  • 1 clove garlic, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I can't get kosher salt here, so I use sea salt)
  • one 15-ounce (425-gram) can of chickpeas (save the liquid!)
  • 1/4 cup chickpea liquid
Do this:

Put it all in the blender and whizz it up. I serve it with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh parsley on top. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

slow-cooker salsa chicken meal

I don't know where I found this tip, but a great way to keep herbs fresh is to put them in a glass jar of water and cover with a plastic bag in the fridge. Works great! This jar-full happens to be cilantro (coriander), which I love on curries or Mexican food.

A meal we've come to love recently is cobbled together from various recipes. I serve the salsa chicken over rice.

 You'll need:

  • boneless chicken thighs, skin removed
  • salsa, medium heat
  • one onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • a splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
Do this:

Add all of the above ingredients to a slow cooker, and set to cook on low heat for about 8 hours. When it's done, shred with two forks.

Here are the side dishes I serve with it: lettuce, cilantro leaves, black olives, corn chips, sliced green onions, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes or more salsa, and sauteed garlicky corn (saute chopped purple onion in a frying pan in a neutral-flavored oil, then add thawed corn and minced garlic, and finally add some salt and pepper).

curried salmon croquettes

Curried salmon croquettes ready to fry up when we get home from calligraphy class. Ingredients: canned salmon, beaten eggs, sifted coconut flour, onion, garlic, parsley, turmeric, curry powder, salt and pepper, mayo, mustard, and rolled in golden flaxseed meal. Yummy served with lemon wedges, and for a side dish we have rice cooked in the rice cooker with chopped sweet potatoes. Lovely with coleslaw as well.

All done: